Moose hair and birch bark

Moose hair and birch bark. Those are 2 materials that we have not written about on this blog before. But now that we are working in the Artifact Lab on objects for all of our upcoming exhibitions and loans, we are seeing a wider variety of artifacts and materials in the lab.

This embroidered birch bark case will be installed in our Native American Voices gallery later this month, so it is in the lab for examination and treatment.

Views of both sides of a small birch bark and moose hair case (45-15-1328) 

The 2-part case (the lid is a separate piece) was purchased by the museum in 1945. It is attributed to being Huron and from Canada.

The case itself is made of birch bark and it is embroidered with moose hair. The intricate details are difficult to appreciate without being able to see them up close. So, let’s take a closer look at the decoration:

Details of the moose hair embroidery, 7.5X magnification

Details of the moose hair embroidery, 20X

The case and lid are edged with bundles of moose hair attached with thread:

Details of the moose hair embroidery, 7.5X magnification

As you can see in the image above, some of the threads attaching the moose hair bundles along the edges are missing, causing hairs to become lost. These areas, as well as splits in the birch bark, will have to be stabilized before this case can go on display.

Check back for post-treatment photos, and visit the museum to see this case on exhibit by the end of May.

  • HelpMeIdentifyThisJanbiya

    What kind of janbiya do I have? It has a wooden handle in T shape with gold looking decorated washer ribet thru the handle. Steel curved blade. Siliver sheath with horizontal round markings across top, then vertical larger round markings with 1 dot surrounded by 6 dots markings between the flat markings, below that is 3 rows of vertical round markings that stick out like the ones on the top with 4 rows of smaller rope looking design running in between each set of round hooved out markings then small area where the sheath begins to curve with mixture of markings most distinguishing is sideways diamond with imagine 2 figure 8s behind the diamond. Or if someone made 2 8s that touched and then set a sideways diamond on top and all you seen was the top and bottoms of the 8s. Then going up the tip of the J shaped sheath is small tall round carvings that stick out slightly with rope looking design circling the bottom of each one and there’s 10 in total. On the sides of that design is more sideways diamonds 4/5 on left and 3 on right. Between the diamonds are the 7 dot designs. 1 dot surrounded by 6 more. The very tip has like a dangling bell thing on it. Doesn’t make bell sound though. Round ball shape with rope like carving going around the center and very top. The back of the sheath is leather.